Building a HTPC

No matter how large or how small, the area of Home Theater is what we all have in common. So...Let others know your configuration. List your components first and then if you care to, a small history. Be sure to come back and keep it updated!
SweatyD
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Building a HTPC

Postby SweatyD » Tue Aug 09, 2005 5:40 pm

I am and admitted newbie!! Woohoo
I am building a HTPC for my theater room and have a few questions for the experienced.

Equipment:
Dlp projector
17" touchscreen for controlling the theater via ML
Denon 3803 receiver
Digital Cable
Sony NS999es dvd player (thinking of selling!)
networked with 2 other computers in house

What I need to know is:
1 - Best operating system for this..xp pro or media center...or would xp home work fine?

2 - Best dvd changer that integrates the easiest with dvd lobby?
( i know I will have to get a global cache to controll this and other ir devices like automatic drapes and drop down screen, etc...if I am wrong, let me know!)

3 - Good pci-express video card that can go to my touchscreen and output component for the projector? I dont do much gaming so I need it catered to video.

4 - Does the main lobby suite integrate with any pvr software if I dont use xp media center?

So many more questions, but I will start here!
Thanks for you info!!!

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Postby gregoryx » Tue Aug 09, 2005 6:06 pm

Uh... I'll take a crack at a couple... just my OPINIONS, of course:

17" is HUGE for a touchscreen... like too big, IMNSHO :roll:

1- All should work... though differently, depending on your needs. XP Pro has the advantage of being able to support two RDP clients while keeping the main screen "normal" when hacked. I have no experience with MCE.

2- Sony 777 is "best" at the moment, though most will work fine. 777 serial is well supported at this point. Serial is the way to go for all controls if possible. DVD Lobby relies on one-way signalling to do things, so IR works fine, if a little less reliable and fast.

3- Pretty much any ATI should do the job. I've used a 9100, 9200, 9700, and 9800 - all with one 1600x1200 primary output and analog/DVI seconary output to my projector. In theory, some of the newer video processing can take advantage of portions of the newer cards. I haven't seen a difference between the above, though.

4- Seems like I've seen Sage mentioned... but I don't do the television stuff, so I don't know.

Sounds like a fun project!
Welcome aboard!
:D

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Postby PeterM1 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 8:39 pm

4 - Does the main lobby suite integrate with any pvr software if I dont use xp media center?


integrate...Yes, in a multi-gateway kind of way...:D

SageTV & SageTVClient (if you have a centralized TV recording server with 1 or even many PVR cards) work fine with ML via the MLGirder plug-in.

Essentially you have to build a Mainlobby scene (easy) emulating the PVR buttons. Every time you press a button, this flow gets triggered:

Mainlobby button command -> MLServer/MLGirder -> girder -> SageTV

I can point you to the details when you're ready but I have to warn you...girder has kinda of a steep learning curve... :? Luckily, for this, the config files are already available at the Sage.tv and girder sites.

Let me know when you're ready for details & welcome aboard :D

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Postby HAL_MAN » Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:39 am

Just an FYI MCE does work with the xp rdp hack.

Mahalo,
Shawn

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Postby Sum Ting Wong » Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:02 pm

Geez, another program with a steep learning curve. At least I've got more than one six pack handy...

Peter, I've tried getting ML to talk to Girder, but can't get it to trigger and Eventstring. Any suggestions?

D!

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Postby gregoryx » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:45 am

Make sure you're setting up an Internet Event Server trigger in Girder that you've named and you're calling the name from MLS.

Yeah, it's a PITA... but it's worth it for all the great stuff Girder does so well. :D

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Postby hikarion » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:55 am

You also have to Copy the girder.dll and maybe one other, ievent.dll maybe files to windows\system32

If i remember correctly.. someone correct me if thats wrong

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Postby PeterM1 » Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:53 am

Sum Ting Wong wrote:Geez, another program with a steep learning curve. At least I've got more than one six pack handy...

Peter, I've tried getting ML to talk to Girder, but can't get it to trigger and Eventstring. Any suggestions?

D!


Simple solution...I'll reply & attach my SageTV GML & .MLS files here when I get home tonight. The .mls is not anything special, I'm moving off PVR functionality to a Harmony 880 remote so I haven't spent too much time on the SageTV .mls.

Hope we can attach files though...with all the ups and downs of the (previous?) forum I don't remember if this is the one where you're allowed to attach files but they disappear later or there's no attachments altogether to save you the trouble to begin with :D :D

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Postby PeterM1 » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:16 pm

Here you go, .MLS & Sage.GML attached.

You need to do a few things.

1. follow the instructions above for copying the relevant .dlls & in-general read the help file in MLGirder.
2. Enable Internet server & SendMessage in Girder config
3. Test MLGirder to girder connectivity. Open both Mainlobby and girder side-2-side. Click buttons on the MLS scene, the equivalent event on girder will be selected.
4. Test girder to SageTV connectivity. This GML works with SageTVClient, if you're using the regular SageTV, you need to change the targets in girder. Look in the Sage.tv FAQ for the correct girder target names.

Hope this helps :wink: :D
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Postby Sum Ting Wong » Sat Aug 13, 2005 5:29 am

Excellent, thanks! I will try this tomorrow afternoon and report back.

(Added)

In regards to the XP RDP hack, do I need it if I'm already using WinConnect Server XP?

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Postby AccessHA » Sat Aug 13, 2005 10:38 am

Nope, WinConnect will do just fine.

PeterM1, thanks for sharing your files.
Hell-bent on automating everything! I’m too lazy to do anything else.

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Postby Sum Ting Wong » Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:17 am

BTW Peter, I'm in the market right now for a good remote. I've been looking at the usual (Pronto, Harmony, etc.). Have you been using your Harmony a while? If so, what's your opinion on it?

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Postby PeterM1 » Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:50 am

Sum Ting Wong wrote:BTW Peter, I'm in the market right now for a good remote. I've been looking at the usual (Pronto, Harmony, etc.). Have you been using your Harmony a while? If so, what's your opinion on it?


I'm replacing my Prontos (TSU6000 & TSU1000 models) with Harmony 880s. I've had my Prontos for ~5 years and they're simply excellent, truly awesome reliable & programmable remotes. These particular -older- models don't have a up-down-left-right-select button structure because, well, 5 years ago it was not needed. But now most devices require it.

I would either have to upgrade all the Prontos with newer Prontos (cost of $1000+) or find another high-WAF solution. The Harmony 880, although nowhere as flexible as the Prontos programmatically, meets that criteria. Bought the first one at MSRP 2 months ago, $250, just bought 2 more for $155... Can't comment on long-term use but so far it has replaced all the Pronto functions successfully.

good luck.


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